Another treat for those attending UFI’s 79th Congress in Abu Dhabi in November is Hamish McRae. Hamish is the Chief Economics Commentator for The Independent and the perfect presenter for a session titled, “What is happening to the world economy?”
I asked him a couple of questions to give you a flavor of what’s in store for you at Congress.
Barry: In the write-up for your conference presentation, you mentioned the shift to emerging economies. With the slow-down in China and India and the difficulties in Europe, do you still see this change happening and what might the ramifications be for the exhibition world?
Hamish; It is quite true that there is a slow-down in both China and India but even the most pessimistic forecasts suggest they will both continue to show solid growth. Meanwhile the outlook for Europe has undoubtedly deteriorated sharply. So on balance, the recent trends may actually speed up the shift of economic weight to the emerging countries. But any global slowdown will have impact on the exhibition world. What I think we are seeing is a typical pause in the growth phase of the economic cycle. This often happens as growth is re-establishing itself but is not yet secure. I would expect a difficult few months ahead but looking beyond that to 2014, I expect growth to pick up again. The exhibition industry will benefit along with other key industries.
Barry: In the next five to ten years what regions and industries do you predict will hold the greatest possibility for growth?
Hamish: It is hard to be completely confident but among the regions I expect a successful decade for Northern Europe and North America, for China and India of course (though there may well be bumps in both), and for well-governed countries in South East Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa. The key here is the quality of governance.
As for industries, I expect to see more of the same: luxury goods and services, energy and raw materials, high technology, especially medical equipment, and within financial services, wealth management.
UFI members who haven’t already registered and are considering attending can click here for more information on UFI’s 2012 Congress in Abu Dhabi (www.ufi.org/abudhabi2012).